Studies Show Reporters Rely on Press Releases — Are You Providing Them With What They Need?

February 21, 2015

By Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social + Evolving Media, Business Wire

In this day and age, there really should be no question on how to garner media coverage. Yet, day after day, organizations distribute news releases that lack the information needed for the reporter to initiate coverage.  In this PR Week article, Jahana Hayes, from Business Wire Atlanta, shares six ways to make sure your press releases hit, and activate, your target audience.

Read the entire piece at PR Week:  http://www.prweek.com/article/1332549/six-straightforward-ways-sure-press-releases-hitting-target

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Applying 8 Modern Day Dating “Rules” to Public Relations

February 14, 2015

By Serena Ehrlich, Director, Social + Evolving Media, Business Wire

https://openclipart.org/detail/192604/heartbleed-patch-needed-by-rejon-192604As Valentine’s Day approaches, we turned our thoughts to how news distribution actually resembles dating. In this piece from today’s PR Daily, Hannah Kelly from Business Wire Paris looks at eight modern dating “rules” and how they apply to news releases.

Click here to read Hannah’s 8 rules of dating and how they apply to PR in 2015:  http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/Applying_8_modern_dating_rules_to_PR_18105.aspx


Three Reasons Why PR Professionals Rely On Newswires

February 9, 2015

By Billy Russell, Business Wire Phoenix

Corporate communications have never been more important.  In an internet era where a wealth of knowledge is available at anyone’s fingertips, consumers now have an unprecedented ability to see an entire corporate history unfold before them.  Whether a company is publicly traded or private, it is crucial to a company’s current and longterm success that they communicate initiatives, product rollouts and personnel announcements to the public.  A press release is the tried-and-true surefire method of encapsulating an important, newsworthy event with a cohesive narrative. Once it is written, what happens next?

With so many options available, the task of actually releasing the press release can be daunting.  There are many methods for press release distribution including email blasts and direct pitching to established or discovered contacts at media publications, but for the broadest audience reach possible for your company’s content and breaking news, a commercial newswire like Business Wire is the most effective tool at your disposal.

Why PR Professional Rely on Newswires:

1.  Newswires Increase Visibility – The problem with promoting your news via email is that yay-9159998-digitalultimately it limits the potential impact of your news to only those you already know. A newswire, on the other hand, distributes news to thousands of contacts at one time, via the method they choose to receive news – electronically.  These outlets include major news services like the Associated Press, Dow Jones, Bloomberg, Reuters, international news points like JiJi Press and Agence France Press, online services like Yahoo! and key financial communities like J.P. Morgan H&Q.

Outside of the newswire’s proprietary list of media and journalists, many news aggregators utilize newswire feeds to provide relevant content for its desired reading audience.  This means company news can now be discovered and acted upon by thousands of investors and consumers—instantly and on demand.

2.  Newswires Provide Legitimacy – A news release distributed electronically by a newswire will be posted on multiple sites and media sources as opposed to just one company website’s news section, or social channel.   Every media outlet receiving a newswire feed understands that this content has already yay-8022260-digitalpassed through strict publishing guidelines to ensure accuracy and legitimacy.  The efficacy of using a newswire to distribute company news announcements is to live on the web as an official piece of breaking news, to not simply be a single-source announcement.

Distributing your news through a newswire allows you to reach out to the media as a whole (newspapers, magazines, TV and radio), thus inaugurating a company’s name as an official, recognized brand that has a placement in news around the country and in the web.

3.  Trusted Name Recognition – There is nothing more trusted than a familiar name.  Some names become synonymous with products—heck, some corporate names become verbs.  A trusted source is one with a name that is familiar, a name that has become familiar due to reputation and a history of legitimacy.

The media relies on newswires for reputable, vetted company news content.  With an established database of contacts and a unique delivery platform, a newswire can easily deliver a company press release to a media outlet. With thousands of news releases being shared every day, newswires ensure yay-15034446-digitalthat journalists and editors are provided with the content that they need in order to do their jobs.  To make their lives even easier, journalists can use keywords to make sure they receive only the news they are most interested in, by subject and region.

Company news releases are no longer considered to be just a media pitch requesting coverage.  Today’s news releases are viewed as the key source of originating data with more and more media outlets linking to the release to provide readers access to the raw data provided within the press release.

There is an entire world of options to consider when it comes to amplifying your company’s news.  Amplifying your content with newswire distributions ensures you have left no stone unturned in your quest to increase coverage, engagement and sales.

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Business Wire Shares 5 Ways to Work with Reporters to Tell Your Story

January 27, 2015

By Whitney Cowit, Business Wire Chicago

1.  Invite the media into your “inner circle”

Reporters want broader access to both the C-Suite and employees on-the-ground. Invite the media to your facilities and yay-13478388-digitalintroduce them to employees at various levels of your organization. Additionally, connect them with your customers so they can hear another part of your story.

2.  Promote your experts

Conduct regular check-ins with reporters who cover your industry to see the stories and trends they are reporting on and to offer your unique viewpoint. Timeliness is key for most reporters and being proactive can help your team generate traction. This also establishes ongoing relationships that can benefit future coverage of your news.

3.  Build an ongoing corporate narrative with positive news stories

Journalists generally view PR pitches with a critical eye, so gaining interest in positive stories is a tough sell. Your objective should be to build an ongoing cadence of positive news to generate momentum and spike the interest of reporters. For example, sharing unconnected stories about your business will not have the same impact as correlating your CSR efforts to your corporate culture and vision for growth.

4.  Be ahead of the trendsyay-14998652-digital

Journalists are drawn to trend pieces and want to know how organizations provide solutions that address the issues facing their industry. Demonstrating how your products are being used in innovative ways could increase the potential of being part of the story.

5.  Explore new outlets

Create a new audience by with journalists who have never covered your news. Are they writing about your competitors? Can you offer an alternative view on a recently published article? Part of doing your homework on these editors should include commenting on and sharing their work in advance of your pitch. Showing interest in their work may create relationships that can lead to future opportunities.

Business Wire’s dedicated media relations and sales staff are always happy to help with best practices and tips for reaching media.  Got questions? Send them our way! Or click below to read more tips from Business Wire’s editorial team:

Like this piece? Click this link to tweet it out:  Tweet me!

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Macedonia Media and Press Freedom: Q&A with Dragan Sekulovski

December 22, 2014

By Kai Prager, Senior Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire

If you visit Skopje, Macedonia today, you will be surprised. The central spots in Macedonia’s capital are crawling with enormous fountains, museums and bridges laced with statues over the Vardar River (which divides the city in two parts). Wondering when they might have been built, I learned that they were all quite new, produced within the last 10 years. The construction of these monuments is part of the project Skopje 2014 — the idea being to enhance a city that was severely damaged by an earthquake in 1963. However, the project is controversial, not only due to its high costs, but also because it is viewed as nationalistic historicist kitsch by many Macedonians.

Macedonian media can also be viewed as new and somewhat controversial.  Most publications were first published after the declaration of independence from Yugoslavia in 1991. Under the promise of a free press, newspapers and magazines were printed and new broadcasters took to the air. But today, there is not much left of that free press. In 2009, Macedonia was ranked 34th on Press Freedom Index (by Reporters Without Borders). Five years later, it has dropped down to number 123.

A Man, Staning On A Bridge, Thinking About His Ex

(Skopje, Macedonia – Photo by Kai Prager)

When I visited the South East European Media Forum in Skopje this year, I had the chance to speak with Dragan Sekulovski, who works as Executive Director at the Association Of Journalists Of Macedonia.  He kindly agreed to answer some of the questions I had about the media in his country and about the aforementioned drop on the Press Freedom Index.

What caused Macedonia’s fall on the Press Freedom Index?

Unfortunately, Macedonia is setting new records with a drop down of 89 places in less than 5 years on the Reporters Without Border’s Press Freedom Index. The main difference in the media back in 2009 and now is the level of criticism of the journalists and the media. Nowadays there is almost no critique in the mainstream media towards the ruling parties and the governmental reforms. In a society where the politicians are not able to stand a critique and where critical media are shut down, journalists are imprisoned for writing a text. The government is the biggest advertiser in the private media and journalists are sued by officials … we cannot expect, with all this, for Macedonia to have a better place on the Press Freedom Index.

Dragan Sekulovski big(Dragan Sekulovski)

 The media market in Macedonia is small. Does this also have an effect on the media landscape?

Macedonia has almost 200 media outlets and they all compete in a small, distorted market and cover about 2 million citizens. They cannot survive financially unless they align their interests with the governing parties and politically connected large businesses. Apart from the public broadcaster (MTV), the vast majority of the country’s press is in private hands. However, the government comes out on top among the 50 largest advertisers in the country. In 2012 and in 2013, the government was in first place with twice as many campaigns in the private media than the larger local mobile operator T-Mobile. You cannot expect to have a free media market when there is so much influence by the government.

Other countries in the region (Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, etc.) have a small media market as well. Do you think they have similar problems?

I would not say that the problems are similar since the pressure points that are creating chilling effects and self-censorship in Macedonia are far more drastic than in neighboring countries. Two recent cases illustrate this negative trend:  the first one is the case of Kezarovski, a journalist who in 2008 wrote a text and published in local small print media. In 2013, he was arrested and convicted for alleged reveling identity of a secret witness, and at the moment, he is more than 18 months detained waiting for the final word of the Appeal Court in Skopje. The second case, as of this autumn, is about a court verdict for defamation where the plaintiff is the Director of the Secret Service and the defendants are [the] editor and journalists from the local printed weekly Fokus. The court here judged a compensation of non-pecuniary damage in amount of 9000 EUR, including court expenses, for the editor and the journalists of Fokus to pay. These negative examples that influence the freedom of expression and independence of media are unique for this part of the world.

How does the move to digital media (internet, mobile devices, social media, etc.) change the media landscape?

Following the global trend, the online media in Macedonia are becoming more influential and are being followed by large percentage of the audience. Based on the assessments of the regulator, 44% of the audience is being informed on a daily basis from web portals. These media can offer some criticism, media pluralism is generally present, and some investigative journalistic stories can be found.

What sources do Macedonian journalists usually use to access information?

Mainly from press conferences and releases from the state media agencies. Interesting to note is that journalistic questions are rarely present during a press conference. Some journalists are using the Law on Access to Information of Public Character, but the information is not always satisfactorily received or delivered in the desirable time frame.

Which information or topics are the most popular in the media?

News and propaganda that promote governmental policy and reforms; chronicles; news about celebrities; critiques of opposition political parties and civil society organizations/individuals; and global news. Very rarely we can see in the mainstream media TV debates from guests which are having different opinion[s] of governmental policy.


5 Tips from Arizona’s Top Journalists on Gaining Local Media Coverage

December 6, 2014

Earlier this year, Business Wire Phoenix hosted an event regarding media relations and local media – how to get the most out of your pitches and how to best strategize your PR efforts to reach out to newspapers, magazines, and other media publications located in your region.

Dawn Gilberton, Patrick O’Grady, and Kiva Couchon, on a panel moderated by Amy La Sala, provided five important tips to getting the most out of your media outreach efforts:

  • Know your local media
  • Use the 24-7 news cycle to your advantage
  • Press releases are still valuable as long as the release includes the right information
  • “Digital is driving everything”
  • Now is a great time to be in PR if you’re utilizing different media platforms

Read this piece by Victoria Green (MRT, Los Angeles) and Billy Russell (CSR, Phoenix) fully detailing tips on how to gain coverage from your local media: http://www.commpro.biz/public-relations/media-relations/5-tips-arizonas-top-journalists-gaining-media-coverage/


With press release editing, catch erors befor they hapen

December 1, 2014

By Luke O’Neill, Editor, Business Wire Boston

We’ve heard it many times here at Business Wire: We catch a typo in a press release, let the client know, then the voice on the other end of the phone stalls, then sighs, “You don’t know how many people have looked at this thing, and that wasn’t caught.”

yay-6559046-digital

That exasperation can be and should be avoided – especially before the release hits the wire and Web. Mistakes, alas, are inevitable, but it’s important to guard against them before they happen. After sending out a press release, the focus should be on promoting your news, not fixing it.

The editing process of any document can be cluttered at times with too many cooks in the kitchen, too many rewrites, and tracked changes simply can be confounding. Plus, don’t edit just for the sake of editing. Sometimes the writer has it right.

At newspapers or websites, editors generally read stories three times and three different ways – have you tried these yet?

  1. Breeze through it initially to get a sense of the story – it’s helpful to literally sit on your hands during this process so you’re not tempted to edit.
  2. The heavy lifting: Rewrite, rework and restructure the story as necessary.
  3. Fine-tune: Polish the prose and clean up typos.

The step between 1 and 2 can be tricky – you need to know how the story needs to be reworked, but that usually comes with practice and experience. This blog, however, is more focused on step 3 – finding those minute mistakes before they become major mistakes.

Eradicating Errors

So how do you sidestep slip ups while editing press releases? Most editors anticipate problems before they occur, know where things could go wrong before they do, ask where things could go wrong and think of the consequences of their editing actions. Yet sometimes it just comes down to having an eagle eye.

yay-3433113-digitalAlso, be mindful that the absence of one lone letter or the transposition of a couple letters changes the meaning of a word, and spellcheck won’t necessarily pick it up.

For example, heath vs. health: A heath is one thing, and health is something different. United vs. untied – these two words clearly have very different meanings. Other common press release examples include: manager vs. manger, complimentary vs. complementary, premiere vs. premier, chief vs. chef and through vs. though.

And be sure to check your spellcheck carefully; don’t just breeze through it because the document may be teeming with tech or biotech words. Often, Spellcheck will flag a word it does not recognize, yet the word is spelled correctly. Then later in the document, Spellcheck will flag a similarly spelled word, but it’s off by one letter. If an editor is on Spellcheck “Ignore All” autopilot, then the misspelled word will fly under the radar.

These spelling discrepancies are especially problematic in business press releases with mismatching company and product names.

‘Confident paranoia’

Many press releases simply could use a healthy dose of preventative medicine – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

yay-1578342-digitalIn my local newsroom, we track the time spent on each correction issued by our clients. In my office, we average about 12 client corrections a month. During high-volume times, that correction total can spike. The corrections can be costly to our clients and counterproductive for everyone.

Some press release corrections are more significant and easily avoidable than others. Some common culprits include: incorrect event dates in releases; incorrect media contact information, especially phone numbers; incorrect titles for people; incorrect press release submitted; and not getting the proper approvals from all the companies involved in the release. But perhaps the most frequent offender is a broken or incorrect embedded hyperlink.

At Business Wire Boston, we preach the idea of “confident paranoia.” Be confident in your editing abilities, but, like a good carpenter, measure twice and cut once.

Luke O’Neill, formerly a newspaper reporter and copy editor, is a senior editor at Business Wire Boston. He has nearly 15 years of communications experience and a master’s degree in journalism.


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